China’s green Belt and Road push leaves plenty of gray areas

Since China launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, the project has come under a lot of criticism for funding polluting activities overseas. That’s started to change with President Xi Jinping’s recent pledge to stop supporting foreign coal projects.

In the past ten months, top government departments have released three documents laying out how it plans to make the initiative more environmentally friendly. The most recent set of instructions, released in March from agencies including the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, asked for “clear progress towards a green Belt and Road initiative.” The NDRC also reiterated that China will “completely stop building new projects,” echoing Xi’s announcement ahead of last year’s COP26 climate summit.

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